Get Booked For Shows – 7 Helpful Touring Tips From 50 Bands
If you want to get booked for shows and grow your live audience regionally and nationally, this post has a ton of tips that come directly from hard working rock bands. Ah…the open road, waking up in a new city every day, meeting countless people. I did several self booked DIY tours for my own bands. There was nothing like touring the country with my best friends. For two years I worked as a tour manager. I learned so much while touring and seeing how the headline acts like Jimmy Eat World, At The Drive-in, Cursive, Stereolab, and Murder City Devils went about their business. Of course it was fun, but what I loved most was the freedom that comes with life on the open road.
The 7 Most Helpful Touring and Booking Tips
1. RELATIONSHIPS / NETWORKING
This group of bands really nailed it. Shows and tours don’t book themselves. Fans don’t show up on their own. Booking shows, above all, comes down to your relationships. Scott from Uncle Spudd said it best. “We don’t have fans, we have friends”. I learned this first hand while on the road with Hot Water Music early in their career (1994). When Hot Water Music rolled into a town, it was like 150 of their close friends came out. Not only fans, but press, college radio, people from record stores, and that eventually snowballed to where they could headline for 500-1,000 anywhere, even overseas. Network before the tour and strengthen those relationships while on tour. Maintain your contacts and keep them warm. Trade shows with somebody in another city so you can host each other and ensure a good turnout on both ends. There are plenty of forums & communities like DIY Tour Postings on Facebook. Finally, use your relationships. Ask for the show.
2. PROMOTERS / BOOKING AGENTS
The best way to understand the promoter point of view is to be one yourself. How To Plan A Concert – Gig Checklist. Rent a hall where you assume all of the risk, and you bear the full responsibility for how successful the show is at the end of the night. This also teaches you the importance of picking the right lineup. Understand what a promoter wants from you. They want a partner that is going to work hard to bring in fans consistently time and time again. Treat each opportunity to play one of their shows like it’s your last.
In my experience landing a great booking agent that specializes in your scene can be the most difficult part. The ones that have the ability to land the big tours are very scarce. I know of about 10 agents that control 75% of the ticket sales in hard rock. Ten agents for thousands of bands is a tough reality. If you’re not with one of the top agents in your genre, try to be with an up-and-coming agent. Wise Man’s Fear had great advice on booking agents. “Ask yourself if this guy is in any sort of position to book something that we can’t book on our own?” One of the best tips to get on a show is get in touch with the band members of the headliner directly.
Also, I’ll be teaching my full Spotify and fanbuilding strategy inside Band Builder Academy starting in January 2020. I’ve also developed free software that taps into the Spotify API and it will be for members only. CLICK HERE to Join the Waitlist.
Starting early gives you the best chances to land the gig as well as ensure the biggest turnout. “Understand things are not always gonna go right (i.e. Van troubles, small crowds, venues cancelling, rude promoter/booker, other bands issues.” – Worthy Of The Crown.
The top rock bands have their tours booked 9 months in advance if not a full year lined up. Support acts don’t have that luxury, but try to lock in shows at least 4 or 6 months in advance. Ask yourself how far in advance are you booking your gigs, and if that’s part of the problem?
Before the tour you should have your budget and accounting spreadsheet prepared, merchandise manufactured, contingency plans in place. If you have a new EP or Album coming out, be ready to take pre-orders and get credit for them on Soundscan.
4. BIG AUDIENCES ARE THE GOAL
Don’t get too caught up on who is on the bill. Try not to be too precious about genre. You want to get in front of as many people as possible. Festivals can expose you to the same audience as a month of small club shows. A slot on a 500 cap sold out show is better for gaining fans than scattered packages in half empty bars. Battle Of The Bands competitions can get you those festival spots. Even if the crowd is not that big during your set, the noise surrounding the event, and being listed on the advertising, is good publicity for your band.
5. DON’T OVERPLAY
Don’t Overplay a market. Keep a rotation of regional markets and be mindful of playing more than once every 6 weeks. Make the most of those opportunities so that you can increase your turnout each time you come back. “Playing every weekend at the same bars/venue with the same setlist and same crowd over saturates the market.” – Error Of Existence
6. SAVING MONEY
Some great tips in this department. Installation of bunks in your van can be a game changer. Save on hotels by sleeping in your bunks or staying with friends. When I was touring if we needed a hotel, we would look at last minute deals on Priceline or any equivalent website. On slow weeks, hotels are often looking to sell off rooms the night before at huge discounts. A few times I was able to get the band 4 and 5 start hotel rooms at the same price as a motel with a “last minute deal”. In contrast, Noir says, “Avoid hotels. We carry camping equipment with us. You’ll see a lot more of the world.” Also, nothing saves money like a well planned budget, and backup plans for your backup plans. SquareUp and atVenu both offer tools for staying on top of your income and expenses.
Finally take care of yourselves out there. Germs run rampant in tour vans and in venues. Keep wet naps or baby wipes on hand. If someone is sick, has the flu, or coughing, make them wear one of those paper masks. Nick from Ghost Heart recommend “dryer sheets in the A/C vent in place and air fresheners to reduce BO.” Another great tip from one of the bands was “Planet fitness memberships come with shower access and they have nationwide locations.” – Hollow Words. One of our contributors Bradford from Vaultry is working on a cookbook for keeping healthy on the road.
I’ll be teaching my full Spotify and fanbuilding strategy inside Band Builder Academy starting in January 2020. I’ve also developed free software that taps into the Spotify API and it will be for members only. CLICK HERE to Join the Waitlist.
50 Bands and Their Best Advice for Booking Shows and Touring.
One of the biggest things is being prepared. You never know what you’ll need on the road. So many things can happen and the last thing you want is to have your van breakdown, cancel dates and be in the hole $1200. Take the time to test, check and pack anything that could cover your ass in a pinch and always have a back up plan. Time is money and when you’re on tour, you need to be conservative of both. – Dylan – Five Year Plan (Note: Dylan was actually the one who suggested I do a post on touring, thanks Dylan!).
We would have to say network as much as possible. Make friends with everyone in your scene, Support other local bands. Just getting out there and spending time in your scene can do a lot. Spending the extra $ or extra time recording with the right producers and making sure your material is high quality goes a long way. Also recognizing other bands that work just as hard as you and helping each other out. – Here From The Start
Bayharbour have always been a DIY act when it comes to bookings. When it comes down to it, you really need to make sure you have a solid reason behind every show/tour. Local bands (especially in AUS) seem to think that playing every show that is thrown at them, is worth it. This is not the case, at all. You have to be very careful with picking and choosing what shows you play especially when trying to progress in the scene. Be smart and plan. Make sure you are touring off material. Don’t play shows just to play shows and hope that some agent walks into the room and magically signs you. Quality over quantity! – Jay – Bayharbour (Australia)
Get a van long enough to build bunks!! We have saved thousands on hotel rooms! However, bunks in the van means you need a trailer for gear which can get costly but it will end up being cheaper in the long run. – Tryst – 2 Shadows
Be kind. Give a helping hand whenever possible. It will pay off. Avoid hotels. We carry camping equipment with us. You’ll see a lot more of the world. Be prepared for everything. Decent preparation in detail is key to make everyone go home happy. Arnold – NIOR
The best thing you can do while playing shows and in preparation to traveling is to network. The better your relationships with bands/promoters/fans in other cities, the more shows you’ll be offered and the better, more fun shows you’ll have. When you play a location, keep that in a rotation and keep hitting it to build your name there. If you add a new city to your rotation, make it a point to come back within a certain amount of time and maintain and build that new city fan base. -Matt – Mona Borland
I’d recommend that finding other locals that draw or promote smart for a greater turnout, having the right bands on each show is crucial,as we do everything ourselves,we also are able to get on really killer national shows here in the Detroit area such as ,Rings of Saturn,Fallujah,Carnifex,Spite,Oceano,Slaughter to Prevail to name a few. – Ronnie – Forces
The best advice we can give is to create a community. Being active, going to shows, give the others the same support you wish for your band. Work hard and never give up. We always try to answer and chat with all the people that follow us. We know that if we can go on and make new music, play new shows is because there are amazing people out there ready to come to our shows and support us and we do appreciate it. We are so grateful to every single person that come to the shows or that share a post or buy a copy of our record. – Luca – Prospective
Well although we have an agent now who is a legend, up until earlier this year it was myself and Jayden (bassist) booking our tours. We have been in touring bands for close to 4 years now so through touring experience and networking we have got a fairly good grip on what venues work for us, where is fun to play, where kids like to go to shows etc. It’s also really satisfying sitting back with a big run of shows we have done ourselves! – Nick – Stepson
Reach out to friends interstate, hit up a band you might want to play with (or their agent) and just have a crack! If you don’t put the feelers out there you DEFINITELY won’t get any shows and it never hurts to ask! Our first ever show was in a mates garage and it was nuts, DIY always has its perks! When you’re on tour make sure you enjoy yourselves and put the financial dramas that come with being in a band aside, you are on a holiday with your best mates seeing parts of the country you wouldn’t see any other way so enjoy it! – Nick – Stepson
As far as booking shows and touring is concerned, if you go through an agent, make sure it is a GREAT one. Ask yourself: “is this guy in any sort of position to book something that we can’t book on our own? Does he have connections that are out of our reach?” If the answer is no, you don’t need him. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t know how to book shows on your own, join a couple DIY touring communities on Facebook and ask questions. People are extremely helpful and generous there on average.
If you’re booking shows for yourself be sure to get to know the local climate of the place you are targeting before you go in guns blazing. For example: if you’re not from Chicago, before you try booking a show there you need to know who the influential local bands are, who the good promoters are, and what venues have a good reputation for draw and honesty (this info is almost always just a quick Google search away). Talk to the area’s biggest locals and ask them to throw a show with you rather than asking them to open – offer to let them headline. You’re on their home turf, so don’t get caught up in who has more facebook likes or Spotify plays or anything. At the end of the day things will go best for you if you honor whoever has the best influence on the local area, and chances are that isn’t going to be you. – Chester – The Wise Man’s Fear
We are actually on an agency (Joey Lanzillotto of Arkham Agency) who has helped us tremendously on the road. It’s hard to choose the most important tour tip because there are a lot of things that a musician will want to take in account. I would say a very useful one would be to talk to people about your band while you’re on tour. One of the best ways to promote your music and your brand. I guarantee people will remember you. Hang out with people outside the venues and get to know them. Go to malls and give people sample CD’s with a song or two on them with a note that has your social media info on it. Take the advantage to get as many people to become fans of your music as you can while you are on the road and make some friends. – Brandon – Life Barriers
Running a DIY tour is no easy task. A common mistake I frequently see is bands thinking the leg work stops after you book a gig, but that is far from true. People aren’t just going to show up and watch you. Don’t expect the talent buyers or venue reps to do much promotion. That responsibility falls on you. You need to hit the ground running once you’ve secured a date. That means reaching out to radio stations, local media outlets (i.e. newspapers, magazines), setting up interviews, handing out flyers DOS at the mall, advertising on facebook, etc. There are so many avenues that you can utilize to get people through the door. The harder you work, the better turnout you will have. – Josh, Brandon, Jordan – Grasslands
In terms of booking shows DIY, the best tips I can give are first off, be open minded about who’s on the bill. Don’t get caught up in genre. Always be respectful to the promoter/venue/bands, even when they’re not with you. Lastly, book a show you know you’re going to have fun at. The worst thing is booking a show you don’t want to be on, but you’re doing it because you think it’ll hurt another band’s feelings, and you end up just waiting and waiting for your turn to come, and for it to be over with. – Niko – Powerhouse
Play live shows!, when you play live shows you usually meet up with other bands/people that can help you get shows outside of your local scene. Stick around after the show. Show your face at the merch booth and talk to people. Support other bands in your scene! If you support them, they usually support you. They might ask you to tag along and support them on their next tour or show. Communicate with your scene! Send mails to festivals, clubs, people that put on shows, people in bands, The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t answer you. If you just want to tell them that their new record is great or that you straight up ask them if you can play their festival/club. Send emails – Bits Between
Don’t hit the same market too many times in a short period of time and make contacts w/ regional bands to help promote the show in a unified matter. – Chris – A Mirror Hollow
As far as touring, we book all of our own gigs. If I’m being completely honest, we haven’t the slightest clue what we’re doing. We have some good friends who have toured before us and given us their contacts. There’s also a DIY Tour Postings group on facebook that we use. Really, we thrive on being friendly with other bands and anyone who will pay any attention to us. We don’t have fans, we have friends. That’s done us a lot of good, and it’s a rad experience, getting to know all of these different people who are into your music. – Scott Cole – Uncle Spudd
We spent the money, and hired a booking agent/tour manager (Tanisha Mitchell of Sleep later Bookings), we also brought on Shirley Leslie for PR. Both of which made a difference for getting the most exposure on a month run, between getting as many gigs as possible and radio / publication interviews. Being well organized is a really big thing too, having accounting and keeping track of all sales and spending will make your life so much easier. Our bass player Josh set up a POS system off a tablet that allowed us to keep track much more efficiently. We also have Square and it’s incredibly helpful for more sales. Rather than per diems we had everyone bring no less than $1,000 of their own cash and anything we made went to building the business. The only things ‘the band fund’ paid for was gas and any repair needed. Your vehicle will also be home, cleanliness is a must when you have 6 people living out of Ford Econoline. My goal for us was to try and break the old mold for how a band survives on the road, and I believe we did that.
I am actually currently writing a touring cookbook, so bands can eat well and very much on the cheap. Because as anyone who has been on the road can tell you, getting sick and eating like crap sucks. Make sure your vehicle is road ready! Check fluids, brakes, tires, everything! Don’t push your engine too hard and give it breaks. You will have vehicle problems at some point, just be prepared, and try to have solutions to as many problems as you foresee happening before you leave. Your band is your family, don’t fight like children, discuss like adults and give each other space when needed. – Bradford – Vaultry
For any bands touring or booking DIY, the main thing is promotion, followed very closely by not oversaturating any one area. Promoting/Networking is what’s going to get your name out there and bring more opportunity. On the flip side, playing every weekend at the same bars/venue with the same setlist and same crowd over saturates the area and dulls your sound. Play in surrounding areas, try to get on festivals, or opening for big name acts. – Thomas – Error Of Existence
Instill it in your brain that nothing worthwhile comes easy. Although we haven’t toured we do know what it’s like to play outside of our city and be welcomed back for more. Persistency is key and establishing solid connections is a must to get a foot in the door wherever you may need it. – Painting Promises
I would have to say the best tip for band’s that are DIY is this: be prepared to hear the word “NO” a lot, but never take it as an answer. I see a lot of bands get discouraged their first few times attempting to book shows DIY. In an industry of thousands upon thousands of new and incredible bands, what will set you apart is your due diligence. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, or in this case shows. if you are given the opportunity to play, bust your ass to get kids out to shows. Message on social media, post frequently, go out into the town (or towns) you plan on playing and advertise. Show your worth. There is too many “cool bands” who blame promoters for shot draws at shows. You’re the product, and if no one wants to buy, that is on YOU. – Jordan Stevens – Our Shadows
I believe our biggest tip is utilizing all local connections and past experiences in previous bands. Music as you probably know is all about who you know and networking. – Jonathan – Hjärna Waves
Have a plan. Do not spent money that does not have to be spent. You are taking several dudes on tour, and they have to be fed and comfortable, which can be quantified cost-wise well before tour. If you have to sleep in hotels then develop a budget for it. If everyone has a per diem, then stick to it. Having a killer show and celebrating at Buffalo Wild Wings might seem like a good idea in the moment, but when you need gas and lodging the next day, it might not be so.
Knowing how to keep clothes and bodies clean on the road is also useful. Planet fitness memberships come with shower access and they have nationwide locations. Have a sheet of points of interest for each city you’re stopping at. Know which Walmarts, McDonalds’ and Guitar Centers are close to the venue, and find a laundromat if you need it. These days an iPhone with internet connection is usually all that you need, but if you have no service, you can still use the GPS function of your phone to navigate to an address. – Adrian & Hollow Words
Get a guarantee if possible and try to lineup local bands that can draw a crowd for the locations you are playing for tickets sales and merchandise sales. Also try to be as prepared as possible and understand things are not always gonna go right (i.e. Van troubles, small crowds, venues cancelling, rude promoter/booker, other bands issues). Also try to be as healthy as possible. You are out on tour not a party bus. – Worthy Of The Crown
The best advice we can give as a group is to just make friends with everyone. Stay for other bands, talk to the touring bands, Facebook is a great tool when you’re in a pinch. We’ve been able to book a bunch of shows just through friends we have on Facebook from out of town or out of state. – Steve – Skylines
Remain professional, everything you do. Do it big as if you were the face of a major label. Conduct yourselves as professionals. Be easy to work with and definitely sell tickets more than anything. Don’t be too proud to play a small show. Every show counts even the ones in shabby bars. You have to play to a handful before you play to thousands. – Sam – Sam Screams
Support other bands and venues as much as you can. One thing I’ve learned in my past 10 years in the music scene here in California is that the more you help others out the more they will help you out in return. When we all help each other out we all win. Make sure you are prepared for anything and everything. On the first tour I went on… with Lost In Lights, we had so many things happen between our lead guitarist having a seizure in the middle of the desert… it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I wasn’t prepared to see one of our members foaming from the mouth and start seizing up like he did. We pulled over and called 911, and that experience left all of us a little shaky the next day. Some of the shows may not have the best turn outs, but even if there’s only 15 kids in the room we still play as if we are playing a sold out crowd and we all have the time of our lives together. Sometimes you just have to make the most out of the situations life gives you. Common Grounds started homeless in a parking lot in LA. Honestly we can only go up from here and hopefully we can inspire others to never give up on their dreams no matter what may come. – Alex – Common Grounds
The best advice we could give is to network. Networking is key, and not just networking as in promoting a show. If you’re setting something up, utilize facebook groups, forums, ReverbNation, etc. Find out about the local bands in new areas. Message the members, ask everyone about everything. Don’t be afraid to ask either, a lot of times all it takes is asking for something, whether it’s a spot on a show, information about good promoters, bad promoters, best venues in the area, good places to promote, etc. Stay on top of your game too. Paying for ads can help but 90% of the time promoting a tour or setting one up is all about targeting the right audiences. Study bands similar to yours, analyze everything they’re doing. When Booking yourself, always make sure the venue is legitimate. Write contracts. They will save your butt. Ask help from locals…Don’t be afraid to ask. A lot of big bands will help you headline a show if you give them enough time. Do not rush, and give yourself plenty of time to promote too. – Chris – Odissia
I would say to try and do room rental when you can and take on the job of hand selecting the other bands you play with. Take on bands with a good draw and place yourselves properly in the lineup. As a touring band, if a local has a huge draw, don’t insist on having your own band headline the show. You’ll have a better crowd as a main support band in those cases. – Shaun – Crazy Love Hawk
Simply put, just do it. The biggest hurdle for any band is simply taking action. You can’t just wait and hope that people will see and hear what you’re trying to do and make things happen for you. Having been originally from Atlanta and then moving to LA, I’ve had a chance to experience two different scenes. And one thing that remains the same is being proactive. Also if you’re having a hard time setting up a show with an established venue. Do your own. Find a inexpensive place that you might be able to rent out or a friends house, get a couple local bands together to help share the cost and have fun. Also, you don’t have to book long tours to get your name out there. Weekend tours can be effective as well. It’s very easy to have that one guy or girl in the band who sets up shows and works on the merch or deals with promotion and such. But it’s very useful to get involved in that as well for number of reasons. One being that if said person gets sick or something happens you can help take on that responsibility without any sense of slowing down. Worst case scenario, if the band breaks up you can bring what you’ve learned into the next project and not have to hope that there’s someone in the band who knows what they’re doing. – Daniel – Mirrors
Be super active on social media. With constant promotion of the tour/shows, an increasing amount of people are going to be interested in attending and keeping up with the band’s upcoming events. There also has to be consistent contact with the promoters of the venues. We are extremely thankful for the relationships we have with JB and Rory, who are some of the best promoters in our area and have put us on many amazing shows with bands such as I See Stars, Hail the Sun, Capsize, Oh, Sleeper, and more. I’ve noticed many bands who will create their own tours and talk to the promoter once and when the date for said show draws closer, the show is either cancelled or postponed due to the lack of interaction with the promoter and venue. The more involved you are with promoters the better show opportunities there will be and also the more organized your DIY tour will be. – Imran – On Letting Go
Persistence. The tour we just booked (a 7 day run) took two weeks of searching for venues/promoters, sending emails, and calling people. Utilize Facebook searches and groups and most of all, get ready for a ton of “no’s”, it’s gonna happen just keep after it. The top 3 practices we use are:
Utilize Facebook searches for pages and groups related to your genre, and use that info to find shows that are happening in that area. Then contact the promoter or venue putting it on
Befriend local bands – they will give you the best places and usually have the best info on promoters and venues. Plus you need them to play with you.
Start early. Venues offer book months in advance. The further out you plan, the more successful you’ll be. – Matt – As Shadows Collapse
Try to build a relationship with show promoters that either want to see you succeed or at least have good intentions for your band. There are so many ways to get stuck out there on tour. Be careful not to put too much trust into people you don’t really know. Try to keep a list of all the awesome people that want to help you along the way. It will be helpful down the road. – Antonio – Discord Curse
Reach out to as many promoters or other bands in your particular genre of music and introduce your band. Let them know what you are about and that you are looking to open up shows, support other bands and are very serious about getting the experience. If they like your gusto and positive attitude they will help you out. Also don’t be afraid to go to local shows and see what bands are out there playing currently. Watch their sets and support them and afterwards talk to them and introduce what you do. You can get many opportunities that way for shows and meet some really amazing musicians. For bands that are experienced and have taken the time to perfect their craft… we would recommend reaching out to a management company or agent. – Within Shadows
Maintain your contacts because it’s not what you know but who you know sometimes. These could be other bands, whether they be local or interstate, promoters, venue operators, press associates and so on. If you’re looking to book a show without any contacts to assist and enhance your plans, the chances of you piecing together a show could be pretty low. We initially thought playing as many shows as we can would be the way to go, however we have found if you really want some big turn outs consistently, book shows 6 weeks apart or around as who wants to see the same band over and over in the same location so frequently. Besides all this, just have fun as it’s easy to lose the fun in it all. Nothing ever goes to plan 100%, but you’ve got to give yourself the chance to create these opportunities for your band and maximise them. – Topher – Nautical Mile
When it comes to booking a tour yourself, having 2 (or even better, 3) months head start is a must. If you don’t have a booking contact for certain places, reaching out to bands can be helpful (but you should always offer to return the favor should they ever need it). Making friends with bands and promoters makes things a little easier when it comes time to book the next tour. For comfort in the van, I’ve heard that dryer sheets in the vents can help reduce the less-than-appealing smell a van might get after a week or more of containing several most likely unwashed band members. – Nick Tatosky – Ghost Heart
“I think one of the biggest mistakes I see is bands trying to book shows 2 months beforehand. We have all made that mistake but booking way ahead of time and giving time for promotion is a big deal. It’s awesome to get a show in a town you haven’t been to before but what does it matter if no one is there? Always try to make sure there are at least two months Just to promote a show If not more. With those two months, do everything you can to get people to that show.” – Storm Ruby – Stories Through Storms
We would recommend not accepting every show you are offered. Choose shows that you think will help propel your band. Also try not to over play your home city. – Tyson – Mirrors (AUS)
The best tip I can give to any band that is just starting to stretch their legs on the road and booking DIY type tours, is to have a contract with the promoter for each show. It is very helpful for both you and the promoter/venue because it keeps lines from getting blurred and either party has no question to their obligation. It’s also helpful if your band has any special requests like food or a certain requirement for the sound guys. It has always been a helpful tool when ARSONWAVE hits the road. – Adam McFall – Arsonwave
The beginning is always tough. One of the things that helped us is signing up for competitions and band battles. In the Netherlands we have some cool festival and initiatives to help out bands and reward opening slots on the main stage of festivals. Although you might not always win, people did see you and especially in bigger competitions there is a chance that there are bookers in the crowd scouting for new talent. Another tip would be is having a connection with a local venue, that allows you to host shows. This will help you negotiate and have something to trade with other bands(help us, help you kind of idea). The core however is making sure you have something special, the music should be well written, the live performance as close to flawless as possible, and the concept of your live show should be clear as well (stage performance and look and feel of the band). In the end it is the overall quality of the band what is going to help you get more shows – Roel – PROS\PECT
We have an awesome agent currently Tyler Saczawa at The Arkham Agency and what’s cool is he’s fine with letting me book some dates of our tours if he knows I can get what we deserve. The next tour in September we are doing I got a chance to book some of the Southeast dates because that’s a region I’ve booked forever and I’m very familiar with it. – Clark – Second Death
As far as touring/booking goes, there are tons of challenges. The obvious challenge is getting the shows for a tour. Booking an out of state bar gig in the middle of the week seemed like a good idea at the time; but you’ll live and learn! We learned that reaching out to local bands or people in the scene is the best way to land a successful gig for a tour. It also doesn’t hurt to offer a show trade, where that out of state band will then come play a show in your hometown! And finally, the body odor. A part of me thinks it’s just cause the Hoffman twins are in the band, but the B.O can get pretty gnarly after a day or so when you’re on the road. Air fresheners, Febreze and axe are ESSENTIALS when touring. – Adam – Drop The Act
Make sure your emails are very professional and that you cast a wide net. Let the venues and promoters know who you are, and why they should book you. – Letting Go
First off, don’t oversaturate a certain market. Also, don’t take whatever show is thrown at you. Quality over quality. Be picky. Don’t play in a garage in front of 10-15 drunk people, where the PA is 2 tiny speakers reserved only for vocals. The rest of the sound suffers tremendously. There’s nothing wrong with a house banger if it’s setup properly, but most aren’t and don’t really help you to further your band. And you should definitely be treating your band like a business, if you plan on taking it to a touring level. Play in actual venues, set-up by established promoters from that area. Meet the other locals or touring acts and network. Get names, numbers, facebook requests. This could lead to more, and better tour opportunities.
And most importantly, act professional. If you want to tour and take your band to the “next level,” you need to act like it’s your job. You might love what you do, but it’s definitely a full time thing, and takes all your free time and all your energy. Booking shows, getting to that show on time, selling tickets (if it’s a local show with national bands) and handling that kind of money, takes some level of professionalism. Also, dealing with a less than favorable promoter, or sound guy, and keeping a level head gets hard sometimes. So acting like a pro and keeping your cool goes along way and toughens up your skin. – Hollow Front
It’s a good idea to network and connect with other bands that are similar to your style and are thinking of touring within your proximity. That way you share audiences and gain exposure for each other, as well as play at more packed houses. It’s also important to have a strong social media presence so people know what shows you’re playing and when. This especially helps convincing venues that you can sell tickets too. – Roopam – The Surrealist
My best tip for touring is to not overplay your main markets. Create a special desire for your fanbase to want to see you and make it a special occasion when you come through. Don’t play the same set you did last time with just an extra song. Try to always be adding to your stage show and people will be much more likely to make your show a priority the next time you come around. – Alex – Dead Eyes
So to answer your first question, just connect with anyone you can at shows and over the internet because you never know who does what. Spread your music around like wildfire. The more you get known, the more opportunities come your way. Promoters will message you more once you make a name for yourself. – Jerry – It Gets Worse
We would definitely say send out lots of emails and Facebook messages. Message bands, venues and promoters, etc. You don’t always get a reply but sometimes they do and you’ve got yourself a show! But gigging in your hometown gets you shows at other venues in the same city and sometimes you play with out of town bands that invite you to their city. But do your research into out of town shows and make sure you get a decent time slot as you can end up playing in front of no one. – Joshua – Her Burden